Tag Archive | Angela Strachan

When Women Of A Certain Age Decide To Get Fierce The Golden Girls Can Really Rock The Mic. 

​Due to an unforseen accident in the last Wednesday of April, It’s fair to  say that May was a quieter month than usual in my poetry calendar. Indeed I had to postpone my own event due to a badly sprdined ankle.

This meant  there was no Words And Music at the Tin Hut on the first Tuesday of the month. I also missed cracking nights at Fail Better, Extra Second,  Express Yourself, and Last Monday At  Waterstones. In fact the only event I made in the whole of May was on the second Sunday of the month when I captained the over 40’s team in the four  ages slam at the Tron Theatre 

 This was an afternoon which I simply had to attend comes as 0ou I was  chosen by the host and organiser of the event Robin Cairns to captain the team for my spoken word demographic but also the fact that it was my first journey outside Baillieston since injuring my ankle at the tail end of last month Since I was still a bit shaky in the terms of my movement I got taxi’s to and from the venue well it made more sense than going for a bus and potentially making things worse. 

Having been made captain, I had to select my team for the events in which we would be doing battle with the teams representing teenagers twenty something’s and thirty something’s and with an emvarrasnent of  riches to choose from I made a few tentative enquires as to who may or may not be available for selection. Eventually I settled on my choices and in Angela Strachan and Lesley Traynor I knew I had chosen well, whether we would would be able to take on and beat the other teams would be as it is in all slams in the lap of the gods, the aududnce, and the judges.

I arrived early for the big event and was quickly joined by rival team captain and close friend Victoria McNulty who since she was taking a social media break had not heard of my recent accident. As we chatted I told her that this was only the second time I’d left the house since it happened and the other occasion was to cast my vote in the local elections. Eventually I was was joined by my team mates and other competitors including fellow team captains Carla Woodburn , Matt MacDonald. As kick off time drew ever closer we went through to the Victorian Bar took our seats on the stage and waited for the battle to  begin. The rules of the competition were simple all poets would perform twice in a round robin fashion and the two highest scoring teams after the two rounds  would progress through to the final to compete for the title of the Four Ages Slam Champions 

After the prelimaries like deciding  on team names and  the running order,  we were treated to a sacrificial poem from one of our judges Brighton based poet Deborah Martin. Sacrifice made It was time to start the competition and it  was the Young Team who were first to the mic as Aidan Rivett opened the slam with his take on Karaoke.One by one the  poets made our way to the mic when it came to our turn to put our first poem out there I decided to take a captain’s responsibility and lead from the front as I performed Jewel Of The Clyde in which I looked back the impact of Glasgow’s year as city of culture on both the politics and culture of our cityThis being my first ever team slam though I have competed in and judged individual ones, I was understandably nervous as I didn’t want to let Angela or Lesley down so I was glad to get it out of the way and get back to my seat. 

On a day when we played to what was a predominantly non poetry audience who had paid £7 for the privilege of seeing us I think we saw the poetry community at it’s best and those gathered  heard poems on a wide range of topic including domestic violence ( Victoria McNulty) family from both (Adam V Cheshire and Moki , male anger Loki, Sex and taming the bad guy Lesley Traynor with her hilarious take on the big bad wolf, nightclubs, me (lost the plot,) and Aidan Rivett , facebook friendships, Jess Smith , shopping and the perils of giving up  smoking (Angela Strachan) and the dangers of swallowing spiders  from Carla Woodburn. 

At the end of the second round of  poems it was four quality teams who waited for their fate to be decided by the judges two of whom would be judging every poem but the third judge was a different story as this was a different member of the audience for every poem and I must admit I rather liked the idea of what I call poetry democracy in action.

As we waited for the judges decisions I talked tactics with my team to decide what poems to perform if we made it through and also I had to consider who would be placed where in the running order. I took a captain’s decision that should we get through I would be going first , Lesley would follow me and Angela, would be our final poet standing. Eventually , the judges made their decision and we had qualified for the final where we would pit our wits against the young team. It was set up as the classic final a battle of youth against experience. 

Having lost the toss it was the young team who went up first then it was my turn to step up to the mic and I performed one of the few poems I know well enough not to need a paper copy or my phone  and when Karaoke Queen got a maximum score of 10 from the audience member I knew I had played my part to the best of my ability. 

One by one we took our turn at the mic and when Lesley performed her poem my sister sleeps I thought we had grounds for optimism and then finally it was Angela who went all out for glory to prove that the so-called oldies can be Goldie’s and believe me The Queen Of Modern Suburbia didn’t let us down.Now having done all we could do it was two nervous teams who awaited the decision of the judges 

Eventually, they made their call and much to my delight they called it for us. The wise ones had  won the day and our all female team had proven that when Women of a certain age decide to get fierce the golden girls can really rock the mic. 

Till next time 

Gayle X

I Learned Some Valuable Lessons From The Queen Of Modern Suburbia As I Discovered A Voice Which Said I Am My Mother’s Daughter

​​​It was a quieter night than usual on the First Tuesday of April for the monthly diet of Words And Music but as my gran always said it’s on nights like this that you learn to appreciate the little things and the small acts of kindness which make a difference to our lives. Before the night had started our featured writer Angela Strachan presented me with a gorgeous bunch of flowers. Needless to say this put me in good sprits for the night ahead and through we had more vacant spaces than a car park on Christmas morning the six  of us who did turn up enjoyed what was  a cosy wee gathering and made the most of the opportunity for what was a less formal night than is usually the case on these occasions.

As is customary I kicked off the night with one of my own poems which in this case was the most recent effort which was written on what was the third day of this year’s NaPoWriMo. The poem entitled Lessons was written on the lessons that I believe those of us who support an independent Scotland need to learn if we are to win the next referendum whenever that may be held. 

Having got the night under way I introduced the first of the readers on what was always going to be one of our  shorter  nights.  This was a writer I had only met three days before at a poetry workshop  on Gender and Sexuality and Alana, or AJ as she prefers to be known  made a very impressive debut with her  short prose piece Masterpiece. This was a highly enjoyable piece from a writer I look forward to hearing a lot more of. 

AJ was followed by Mary Wilson whose three poems Only Three Dozen,  More Parrots, and Garden Tigers showed that Mary , a poet we are only just getting to know, has wide variety of subjects in which she is interested and I’m sure we’ll hear more of her work in future. 

Next up was to stage was club regular Susan Milligan who read two pieces of her work entitled Present, and My Time before finishing her set with a song entitled Let Me Count The Ways This is a lovely song which Susan performed well and I hope she includes it in her set when she takes the featured musician slot in August.  

Claire McCann followed Susan and performed a very short piece entitled Chalk which took us up to a longer than usual break before it was it time to reconvene the evening in the only way we know and that was with our featured writer. 

On this occasion it was Angela Strachan who claimed that spot and those who missed her performance, missed a top quality writer who delivered a highly entertaining set which went down well with the small but appreciative audience. 

Angie (pictured below) started her with a poem for her granny before moving on to a poem about her dog entitled Old Jock. Though I’ve never been a dog owner I really enjoyed a piece which illustrated the bond between the dog and its owner. 

Picture (1) Our featured writer Angela Strachan 

Angela’s next poem was on Being  followed this one with Hair Of The Dog before moving on to one of my favourite poems of hers The Queen Of Modern Suburbia 

This poem  describes brilliantly the unrealistic pressures faced by professional middle class women in the 21st century as they try to cope with the ever increasing demands of modern life in the face of press and media pressure which tells them they are the have it all generation who need to have it all to be a real success. 

For her next poem Angie continued on the middle class suburban theme with The Book Group. This may be a rap on the unlikest of the topics, but it’s  also hilarious and it works. As, you may have gathered by now , Angie, has a tendency to draw from personal experience and in her penultimate poem  A Love Letter To Mr Berkeley Menthol she tells of her battle to quit smoking in a way which is filled with honesty and humour. On finishing her set with her final poem Slugs Angela Strachan had delivered a set filled with variety integrity, and intelligently crafted poems and believe me when I say this is a writer we’re going to hear a lot  more of in the months and years to come.

Having no featured musician, since Pauline Bradley had to call off due to an unavoidable last minute emergency I decided to treat the company to a song though under the Human Rights Act I’m not sure I should have done this. However cometh the hour cometh the woman  and I decided to go ahead with it. My song of choice was a favourite of mine by the Irish singer/songwriter Paddy Reilly entitled Flight Of Earls. The song tells the story of youth emigration from Ireland to seek greener pastures elsewhere. As I said in my introduction to the song which none of the company had heard before though this song relates to Ireland this in my opinion will be the future for Scotland’s youth, unless we gain our independence. Controversial I may be, but one thing nobody can say about me is that I don’t tell it as I see it.  

At the end of my impromptu rendition I asked anyone in the company if they wished to perform again. As nobody accepted my request I brought the evening to an end by performing three poems the first two of which, Sanctuary and Discovered, were were my first two efforts for this year’s NaPoWriMo  I read my final poem of the evening titled  My Mother’s Daughter.

This  was written on mothers day in memory of my mum and  though she had  her reservations about my transition I think she would be proud of this poem which deals with my relationship with her with honesty and integrity she always placed such importance on.It was she said a mark of your character to have qualities she regarded as essential in anyone with even a shred of decency. 

With my final poem completed  I concluded a night which though short on numbers wasn’t on heart or on quality and of which it can be said that I learned some valuable lessons from the queen of modern suburbia as I discovered a voice which said  I am my mother’s daughter.

Till  next time 

Gayle X 

When Rabbie’s Lass Got Fierce With Words And Mused On Political Valentines We Searched For Silver Linings In A Tapestry Of Talents 

Never before in the history of  Words And Music have we held the  April edition of our club before I’ve had to reflect on the events of a March,  but such is the madness of NaPoWriMo that is what’s happened on this occasion and if it ever happens again it’s bound to  be in  the chaos that is such a regular feature of April these days.

As I look back on this night I am happy to say that was a night in which women played a very prominent part. After having no musician in February I was delighted that Bernadette Collier a well known and respected voice in the Glasgow folk scene was making her debut at our event. As I kicked off the proceedings dead on 8 o’clock, I was as always excited yet nervous as to what the night would hold. Well I’ve been attending spoken word events long enough to know that the only thing you can predict about a night like this is its unpredictability.  

I started the evening by reading The Clothes Of An Honest Man a poem written in memory my late father John James Smith who would if still among us  have been celebrating his 90th Birthday in the last week of February. It is I think fair to say that like most poems on my family this one was not without controversy as raised a few topical issues such as   the political cultural differences between my parents and on these issues I was very definately a daddy’s girl. 

After the opening poem it was time to hand the night over to the company and get on with the show as only we know how. First to take the stage was Angela Strachan who was making her first appearance since our Christmas Cracker in December. Angela who is April’s featured writer celebrated her return to the fold by reading a story titled Dandelion Feicht which she narrated from the perspective of a teenaged boy. Before starting to read  Angela asked me if she could have a wee bit of extra time to read her story and I said that wouldn’t be a problem because unlike some performers over the years Angela had the decency to ask rather than assume she could take it and get away with it and I must it was an enjoyable story which was well worth hearing. 

Angela was followed by Mary Wilson who read three poems Pigeons On The Menu , Robotic Cleaner, and Fitting Time. Like Angela, Mary was also making her first visit of the year and it was good to see her back. 

As Mary returned to her seat it was the turn of a man who needs no introduction to Words And Music regulars as Alex Frew has been entertaining us for more than 20 years, both at Sammy Dow’s, and now in our new home at The Tin Hut . Be it poetry , prose , or music Alex can always be relied on make us smile and think in equal measure. This time, Alex chose to read  a story or should I say the first part of a which told a tale of childhood and I look forward to hearing the second part of The Note as and when he decides to share it with us. 

From an experienced performer we move on to a debut girl and Susan McKinstery showed why I moaned the face off her to come and share her work with two  excellent pieces When Bad Things Happen, and the brilliant You, I , Us. You know I’m really glad that Susan decided to come along as her powerful , thought provoking pieces challenged stereotypical prejudices and added something extra to the evening . 

Next up was the other half of Ayrshire’s dynamic duo Andy Fleming.  Like Alex, Andy has been coming to Words and Music for over two decades since making his debut in 1996.  Having attended pur monthly gathering for as long as he has, it is fair to say that Andy has a large volume of work so large in fact that he is never quite sure what to perform on any given night. Andy however is a great believer in democracy, and more often than not will let the people decide his set for the night by getting those of us in attendance to shout out random numbers and his set will be selected by whatever numbers we decide to call out. On this occasion Andy’s form of democratic participation meant that the audience were treated to three of his all time classics  and I for one thoroughly enjoyed One Star Review, Trashwalk, and his environmental rant You Are Not A Cyclist. This was a set which brought back memories for some of us and created them for those who are just getting to know a man I am proud to call my friend. 

Next up to the stage was Susan Milligan whose set focused on romance. This was no great surprise to me as this was the first Words And Music since Valentine’s Day. In this post Valentine’s set Susan read three poems Parting Kiss, One Last Look, and All Alone. I am also sure she sang a song and I enjoyed it but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was. 

As Susan took her bow and rejoined the company to enjoy the rest of the evening it was Alan McGlas in his now customary position who led us to the bar break with his hillirious piece titled Ten Reasons Why I Dislike Dying In Hospital. This piece of quality satirical brilliance was the perfect way to end the first half of the night and get us in the mood for our featured performers but first it was time to catch up with friends and enjoy the social side of life which always plays such an important part on nights like this.  

After the break it was time for the first of our featured performers and as always we started with the featured writer and this month that was was the none other than the fiercest woman in poetry otherwise known as Lesley Traynor. Now those of you know Lesley (picutured below) will know she has a naughty side and she showed that mischievous streak with her first poem Big Bad Wolf in which she got more than a wee bit suggestive about this character in a fun filled poem which gave us all a fit of the giggles.

Picture (1) Our featured writer Lesley Traynor takes tin hutters on a very interesting journey

Having shown us her naughty side, it was now time for her  to show her sensative side with her poem My Sister Sleeps. This poem illustrates Lesley’s gentle tenderness as it tells the story of her close bond with her sister with the use of loving evocative language and stunningly beautiful imagrgy. 

In her next poem Rabbie’s Lass Lesley looks at the relationship between our national bard Robert Burns and the love of his life Jean Armour and does so very much from Jean’s perspective. This is a poem which narrates a tale of compassion from a 21st century woman who would never have put with even half of Rabble’s chat but times were different in Jean’s day and Lesley shows genuine warmth towards her subject in a poem which takes a look at Burns through the lenses of both feminism and time. 

In her next two poems Dancing At La Garre , and Secret Place   Lesley tells of her time in Eithopia and the adventures she had and the challenges she faced as a young woman in what was at that time a  very troubled land. As if to demonstrate her versatility Lesley then moved on performing Threads before taking us on yet another adventure, this time to Milan where after visiting a gallery in the city she was inspired to write Cover My Mouth In Gold. 

Lesley then concluded an excellent set with her final poem Thrawn. This is a poem which is  close to her heart as it was written for the women with fierce words event she organised for the Scottish Poetry Library for the first day of the Edinburgh festival fringe. The idea behind the event was that every poet brought with them a poem and a fierce word which described something about them and Lesley chose the old Scottish word Thrawn which can be used to mean stubborn or determined and Lesley is determined to get as many women as possible to record it in as many unusual venues as possible to illustrate that there is no place on earth on which a woman can’t be thrawn which reminds me I’ve still to record my version of the poem outside Celtic Park. This was an excellent way to end a top quality set which was enjoyed by all in attendance. 
After Lesley it was time for our featured musician and this month that honour fell to Bernadette Collier. Though I’ve known Bernadette (pictured below) for many years this was her first time at the club. Bernie started her set with a song that appealed to my pro independence sentiments titled If You Were Free. She followed this with a jazz flavoured number Killing The Blue

Picture (2) Featured musician Bernadette Collier makes a long awaited debut at Words And Music supported by seasoned regular Bob Leslie.

 For her next number she was assisted by Bob Leslie, as they dueted on  one of Bob’s songs Hook Your Train Up To My Wagon. Bernie followed this up with another transport related song when she covered Chasing Cars. For her penultimate number Bernadette sang a Spanish song which I not knowing the title can’t spell, pronounce, or translate but I did enjoy it.  For her final song Bernadette sang Dance Me and with that she did the quickstep off stage to enjoy what was left of the evening 

As Bernadette and Bob rejoined the company it was time for the penultimate performer of the evening and this month it was Claire McCann who had the unenviable task of following the featured acts and she did it by singing a song titled Look Whose At The Door. 

As Claire concluded her performance it was my job to bring the evening to a close  I did so by performing four poems I kicked off my set with my tribute to the late great Tommy Gemmell. I titled this poem The Goal That Changed The Game as that is exactly what he did with the equaliser which broke Inter Milan’s defensive wall and with it their resistance thereby setting up Celtic up for my club’s and Scottish football’s greatest ever victory. I followed this up by reading Quartet.This is my tribute poem to Orcadian band Fara who I go to see at every chance I get. For my penultimate poem I decided on a bit of satire with my Valentine’s Day poem Political Musings On Valentine’s Day in which I take a no holes barred look at the Valentine’s that certain politicians and organisations should have got. For my final poem I stayed on the theme of politics and in Silver Linings I took a reflective look on my journey back to normality after the disappointment of the referendum and the part poets and musicians played in brightening my mood. 

It was with that optimistic note that I ended this edition of words and music and yet another night was written in to our history. It was a night when the 13 of us who made it along were thoroughly entertained.So when Rabbie’s Lass got fierce with words and mused on political valentines we searched for silver linings in a tapestry of talents. 

Love And Best Wishes

Gayle X

When Two Wise Men And A Very Wise Woman Shared Their Stories And Songs To Make Merry The Rest Of The Company Were Watching The Night And That’s Just What We Always Wanted.

Hey Readers

As we gradually return to normality after the festive season so the time has come for the first Words And Music of the New year. But before seeing what 2017 has in store for us all it is time to go back to the event which started the poetic festivities and look back on the December edition of our event and I have to say we saw 2016 out in far greater heart than was the case in 2015 which with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the club turned out to be our last Christmas in the place we called home for 25 years.

As the crowd began to assemble for our first Tin Hut Christmas cracker it was good friends both old and new among the gathering and I could sense an air of optimism in the company which hadn’t been there in our last Christmas at the venue formerly known as Sammy’s.
Don’t get me wrong, we made the most of it and had a good night, but now settled in our new home, we could sense we were going to have the Christmas cracker to end them all and give a right good Christening.

As is now customary I opened the night and with this being our festive event I started the night with Christmas At Carol’s. This poem is my comic look at that friend you know the one we’ve all got that starts singing Christmas songs on the 1st of November though we secretly suspect she’s rehearsing them since Easter Monday. Anyway it seemed to get the job done and now the night could proceed as normal, or at least as normal as you’re at a Tin Hut Event.

As I gave way to the open mic crowd it was one of our newer members Angie Strachan who was next up to entertain us and she did so by reading a poem written in the style of Burns for what she said was the most Scottish wedding she had ever attended. This was despite of or maybe because of the fact that the happy couple came from Wales and The Czech Republic. Angela then followed this with a poem entitled Nickola Tesla’s Bird and finished up her set with a brilliant and thought provoking poem on Armistice Day.

Next up was our other new face Mary Wilson who read two pieces Time And I and Sam. During her second Mary got a wee bit emotional and apologised to us for doing so. Not that any of us thought an apology was necessary as it was quite obvious that this was a very emotional piece of work and the fact that she felt moved by the story she was sharing with us made us feel all the more privileged to hear it.

After such an emotional piece I hoped we may get a wee bit of humour to lighten the tone and Alex Frew delivered exactly what the doctor ordered with his first piece From The Pulpit for which Alex assured us he had done research as this poem was made up entirely from lines spoken in church by men of the cloth. Alex then slightly more serious for his second piece Moon Boot Muriel Is Going To Barbados. This piece was written about a real character that Alex knew from working in day care and was related with a warmth and sensitivity with which I’m sure she would have been pleased. For his final piece Homer The Winner Alex returned to his more natural comic style as he took what I would say was a deserved swipe at home town winners in poetry slams and knowing that scene well I think it’s safe to say that the bold Mr Frew  could touch a few raw nerves with this one. Fortunately though those sensative souls weren’t in attendence and those of us who were there throughhly enjoyed it.

Next to the stage was Alex’s friend and sparing partner Andy Fleming. As Alex And Andy were the featured musicians Andy’s set was like Alex’s a mere taster of what we would be in for later in the evening but boy that taster was good as he performed the Sex Pistols classic Anarchy In The UK and his own rather unique Christmas classic Grandma’s Turkey which I’m convinced would be the perfect song to get him the Christmas number one.

Andy was followed by Chris Young and on this occasion Chris started with a brilliant and thought provoking poem in which he examined what his life could have been like he been born female in If I Were A Woman. This is a poem of genuine quality and had many of us in sitting in silence and in awe as as Chris took us on this journey and asked some people to step out of there comfort zone.

Speaking as someone who is a transsexual woman as lives the life Chris is asking others to imagine I must admit I loved this poem and could readily identity with what he had to say. However just when we thought it was safe and Chris was going to be sensible he pulled his Christmas cracker and out came Aunt Matilda for her seasonal visit. This parody of Christmas to the tune of Good King Wenceslaus is one of my festive favourites mainly due to the chaos which this seasonal relative seems to cause.

Having had visits from the Words and Music version of the three wise men it was time for a woman to restore some sanity to the proceedings and Susan Milligan was the woman chosen to provide us with something different. She did this with a cracking wee set of two poems and a song. In keeping with the spirit of the evening Susan read Resolutions and Santa’s Dilemma and concluded with a song which through not a traditional song was a classic Christmas number one. The song in question was The Power Of Love by Frankie Goes To Hollywood and I have to say she more than did it justice.

Next up was a man who I know celebrates Christmas but like me remembers the reason for the season and Jim Ewing gave us a cracking set as he looked back on the year. In an excellent set Jim read two of his most poignant poems as he paid tribute to both David Bowie and the victims of the Orlando massacre before lightening the mood with his last poem Gay When I’m Sober And Straight When I’m Drunk.

As Jim went back to his seat it was the turn of Suzanne Egerton to lead us to the bar break. For those who don’t know Suzanne will be our featured first foot and take in to us 2017 and she showed why with two brilliant pueces the heartwrenching Auntie May Declines , and the hillirious Snow Black which is her personal take on the Snow White story and if you ask me snow black had at least initially a lot more fun.

After the break we finally opened our featured cracker and who did we find but Jane Overton. Jane to me is the idel featured writer for an occasion like this. With her mixture of humour and pathos she has a catalogue of poem which any poet would be proud to call their own. Jane started her set with something we all need at Christmas just in case we have to take that unwanted present from our very own Aunt Matilda back to where she got it. 

This was followed by her excellent take on the classics, and she read on an Old Woman In A Hurry, This poem contained one of best phrases I’ve heard in a long when Jane mentioned the Glam Reiper.  I don’t know why but I just love the messsge of this image, it’s as if a scary ghost comes to visit women of a certain age to tell us our days of getting dolled up are over.

In her next poem which is on the topic of art, this versatile poet switches the focus from maturity to youth as she tells us that Antonia Gormley Aged 15 Considers Her Future. After showing us a teenager considering her future Jane herself considered religion in an thought provoking piece titled Absolution. This was followed by yet more cracking poems which showcase the variety of work including Balance Of Probabilities, Self Portrait, Lullaby In Pink, Convenience Dreams, and one that every poet will like In The New Small Print.

In Unreal Estate Jane wrote a poem on property and still managed to make it entertaining. This to me illustrates that the festive period really is the season of miracles. Jane then finished her set by performing her Christmas classic I Have Watched Too Many Cop Show Christmas Specials. This concluded a set which was enjoyable, educational, and highly entertaining and kept the audience engaged from start to finish.

Now there are times when the featured musician is the sensible voice of reason after some featured writers. This however was not one of those occasions. Well it couldn’t be because the featured musician was Andy Fleming with a guest appearance from Alex Frew. To say this was comedy gold of the thought provoking kind doesn’t even begin to do it justice though it is a very accurate description.

It was Andy who was first to take the stage and he opened what would turn out to be an extended set with The BLR Has Ruined My Sex Machine. This strangely titled introductory piece was followed by the song with the title every show, or Christmas panto hopes they never will see One Star Review. After this Andy performed An Obituary For Che Frobisher and Nosferatu The Vampire. Well Andy always likes to look at the unusual aspects of life and they certainly don’t come any more unusual, than the man who was the topic of the first song for which Alex joined him on stage the one and only David Icke. 

This was followed by the nearest they will ever get to a Christian song as they used their considerable talents to remind us of the consequences of disobeying the Lord with a song titled Jesus Will Kick Your Sorry Ass.

Having dealt with God this dynamic duo then delved in to the world of nursery rhymes giving it their satirical treatment in Nursery Rhyme Calypso. This one always goes down well the Words And Music crowd as does the one they followed it with, well even when it’s not Christmas the Pound Shop song is always a winner.

After these two traditional favourites they then played Toilet Cubicles In A Field. This is a first hand account of what life is like on the last day of a festival and trust me it makes me glad I don’t really do the outdoor festival scene. They concluded the set with their classic song There’s No Mention Of The Clitoris In The Bible as they brought to an end one of the amazing featured bills that Words and Music has had the privilege to enjoy. On thanking both the guys and Jane for making the night so majestic I was minded to inform the gathering that in 1983 Fun Boy Three released a song entitled the lunatics have taken over the asylum and this fantastic featured bill proved that not only had they done it but they done it style and brought smiles however all round as they did so.

Following these two wise men and a very wise woman would under normal circumstances be a very difficult job, however this is words and music and we don’t normal under any circumstances. Fortunately our penultimate performer Pete Faulkner has been part of the words and music family for long enough to know we don’t do normal under any circumstances.

On this occasion Pete read two pieces. Museum Of Winter and The Forge. Whilst I enjoyed both pieces I particularly liked his first poem in which he shared memories of his formative years in home city of Dundee. To me these poems in which geography and childhood memories play a significant part show Pete at his best and illustrate the strengths of a poetic storyteller who takes his audience on a geographic journey through time and space with place used to ground us in the memories he creates.

As Pete left the stage I was up to me to bring both the night and the year to a close and at this Christmas cracker I did it the only way I know how by getting out the Christmas poems and seeing the year out in style.

I started my set with The Best Christmas Present. Then having lulled the gathering in to a false sense of security by starting off with a sensible poem, I thought it was time to liven the place with a bit of seasonal comedy by reading Stocking Thriller.

Of all my Christmas poems one has to be my favourite as it is ever so slightly suggestive and tells the tale of a romantic adventure which goes tragically wrong I then decided despite protests from
the music lovers union to sing my take on the Cliff Richard Christmas hit entitled Mistletoe And Whine. Thankfully there were no Cliff fans in the crowd or at least no-one who was willing to admit to being a Cliff fan so I think I just about got away with it.

Anyway, with the musical interlude completed it was time to get back to the poetry and my penultimate poem of the year Watching The Night told the story of the arrival of the baby Jesus in slightly more Glaswegian terms than you’d find in Luke Chapter 2. Those who know their bible will get the reference.

As for my final poem of 2016 I ended the Christmas cracker in what has become the traditional way in the last few years by performing Christmas Lies or if your diplomatic to your relatives than I would be when you get that unwanted, present you can think of no earthly use for Just What I’ve Always Wanted. This one always gets a good reaction and is the perfect way to bring the curtain down on what was a year that got better for us the longer I went on.

When we started 2016 little did we know that our January edition would be the last at our old home and due to circumstances beyond our control we had an enforced break until we June as we searched for new premises When we eventually reconvened in June, we did so not only our plush new surroundings but also on a different night of the week as first Monday’s at Sammy’s became first Tuesdays at the Pollok Ex-Servicemen’s club or as we’ve come to know it the Tin Hut and as we end the year our club has consolidated our place in our home and goes from strength as a part of the Glasgow spoken word scene. So as I look back on the night and the year, I think I can say that when two wise men and a very wise woman shared their stories and songs to make merry the rest of the company were watching the night and that’s just what we always wanted.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

Dinners Dugs And Poetry Nights With Friends In Familiar Surroundings.

Hey Readers.

Welcome to my photographic review of September. As you would expect it was a wee bit quieter than August but I still managed to have a reasonably busy month and as this review proves it certainly didn’t lack variety.

Picture (1) Is taken at our monthly  Words And Music night at the Tin Hut and what better way to kick off the month than with an action shot of club stalwart Suzanne Egerton.

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Picture (2) is another from the September Words and Music. This time is shows Pete Faulkner making his long awaited debut at the Tin Hut.

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Picture (3) Shows another Pete this time it’s our featured writer Peter Russell whose  taking centre stage with debut girl Angela Strachan looking on.

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Picture (4) Is our last from this particular section and features one of the most promising young talents in the spoken word scene Molly McLachlan who like Angela Strachan and our featured writer Peter Russell was making her Words and Music debut and to say she was breathtakingly brilliant would I think be understating the impact she had on an evening which though low in numbers was very high in quality.

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Picture (5) This picture was taken at at a night I was privilged  to be part of  As the  West of Scotland’s creative community  came together at Fail Better to raise money for refugees in Palestine. In this shot  Francis Lopez is snapped providing some music for the company. 

Picture (6) This shot captures Scotland’s very own pocket dynamo Victoria McNulty rocking the audience with a brilliant set which included the fabulous Coffins From Derry a poem written in support of the displaced people residing in Scotland 

Picture (7) Sees Carla Woodburn perform for the cause.At the time of writing this review Carla is coming to the end of her holiday in Peru but on the night in question like all of us her heart was touched by the stories of horror which are happening  to the people of Palestine 

Picture (8)  Shows Declan Welch in storytelling mode as he tells us first hand of his recent trip to the West Bank and what he witnessed during his visit before entertaining us with his bitingly brilliant brand of music.

Picture (9) On my first night back at the Blue Chair after my adventures in Edinburgh I noticed a couple of friendly faces in the gathering in the shape of our very own Becca and Grace.

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Picture 10 This picture provides evidence that some poets do actually prepare our sets at least a few minutes in advance as I lay nine on the table ready for reading later. image

Picture (11) Shows that it was a lovely sunny Saturday as those of us who wanted a better  Scotland gathered in George Square for the Hope Over Fear rally. In this picture you can see the internationalist vision of the marchers who fly not only the Blue and White saltaire of our nation but also flags of other small nations who wish to have the right to govern themselves such as Palestine and  Catlonia 

Picture 12 Captures the spirit of what this family friendly festival is all about as friends from all over Scotland meet up and share the craic

In Picture (13) the focus moves indoors as I travel from the city centre to the west end and I’m seated for dinner in the luxurious surroundings, of the Polish club where I enjoyed a fantastic reunion meal with a selected group of friends including Steve Allan sitting directly opposite me, Donna Campbell, and Hazel Frew who organised the gathering to celebrate the life of the late Scottish poet, storyteller, and musician Sandy Hutchinson who was a great friend to every one of us.

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Picture 14 Is a  picture of my starter which is one of the best bowls of soup I’ve ever tasted. Honestly Polish style Beef Broth is absolutely delicious.

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Picture (15 ) Sees Christy Williamson read a one of Sandy poems as his tribute to our much loved friend 

Picture (16) Illustrates that poets will always find to time to chat. Here Eveline Pye and Tracy Patrick seated diagonally across from her share a story with Alan Falconer listening intently. 

Picture (17) It was time to tuck in to my main course and the Pork Chop and Chips were so tasty not to mention filling that I didn’t have room for dessert. 

Picture (18) Shows Hazel Frew who suggested the idea of the reunion. We have a lot to thank her for.

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Picture (19) Was taken at the bikers for yes rally on the second anniversary of our independence referendum and features one man and his dug. The man in question is Paul Kavanagh and the dug is of course the wee ginger dug from which his blog gets its name. It was really good to meet Paul in the flesh and put a face to the name especially since he was the first blogger ever to give me a guest post the run up to the 2014 referendum.

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Picture 20 Shows singer/ songwriter Gavin Paterson belting out tunes to warm the heart of yes voters on what was unfortunately a dull and wet afternoon. This however didn’t seem to bother Gavin or the crowd whose spirits were were lifted by this talented musician 

Picture (21) This picture only goes to show that Lord Robertson doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about when it cones to independence, culture or for that matter anything else. You see according to the noble Lord independece supporters are Anti English and Scotland doesn’t have any culture. So bearing that in mind allow me introduce two members of the cultural wing of the yes family. This dynamic duo are English born musician Pauline Bradley and the poetic voice of Radical Renfrewshire Shaun Moore. 

Picture (22) This picture captures a woman with a heart for Scotland and one of key organisers of this highly successful event the lovely Kirsten Storrie. 

Picture (23) Our next few pictures were taken on a night out in Paisley. Yes I know it’s not where you would imagine spending a Monday night however when I was offered the chance to perform at the Paisley Women For Independence spoken word event I decided that Paisley on a Monday night might not be such a bad choice after all and as if to prove I was right one of the first familiar faces I met was the talented local poet Rashelle Reid 

Picture (24) Some of the women sit by the flag we are proud to call our own.

Picture (25) As you can I see from this picture I wasn’t slow at the taking the mic and sharing my words of wisdom. On this occasion my poems of choice were A Woman’s Voice on the importance of women using our right to vote and A Personal Vow in which I give both Gordon Brown and Johann Lamont more character than they were ever blessed with and vow to make Scotland independent and make people matter. 

Picture (26)  Sees Kathryn Metcalfe entertaining the crowd with a heart warming and thought provoking story about the woman shaped her values and believe me on hearing her story I’m sure her mother would be proud of the daughter she raised.  

Picture (27) All girls together for a group photograph which shows independent women of principal passion and power. 

Picture (28). Shows me posing for the camera in an outfit which some of you may recognise from a previous outfit of the day post. 

For Picture (29 ) We’ve move from Paisley to the Drygate Bar at the east end of the Merchant City where the lovely genius that is the wonderful Cat Hepburn is happy to smile for the camera as she prepares for the start of the first ever Sonnet Youth Slam at the monthly night which she co-hosts with Kevin Gilday.

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Picture (30) The Sonnet Youth slam was an amazing night of poetry and represented the power of spoken word at its very best. I was lucky enough to be one of the judges at this amazing event in which Elaine Gallagher (pictured below) was given my highest individual score of any contestant on the night for her brilliant second round poem.

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Picture (31) Shows the poet who was runner up on a highly enjoyable and entertaining evening. I’m so proud to call this amazingly talented woman my fierce sister and friend she is the majestic Katharine MacFarlane

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Picture (32) For my picture in this review I travel to the West End of the city to Cafe Rio for the madness and mayhem that is Last Monday at Rio. This is always a quality night of spoken words and our host Robin Cairns always ensures we have a top quality headliner on this occasion that headliner was Katie Ailes who can be seen here performing her powerful passionate poetry to a very appreciative audience.

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So that was my September. At first glance it may appear to have been a wee bit quieter than August though to be honest if you’re a poet most months are quieter than August and there were more than enough events to keep me occupied and make sure I had plenty to blog about.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

As We Sat Down To Our Cultural Feast  We Were Told That Breakfast Means Breakfast But When Someone Asked What You Did In The War It Was Time For A Good Sunday Lunch

Hey Readers

As the cold wind blows to welcome in November and with it the onset of a traditional Scottish winter, it is with warmth I look back at the October edition of Words and Music. This I have to say had that unique atmosphere which made has Words and Music the kind of night it’s went on become and hopefully will always be with the accent firmly centred not only poetry, stories , and songs but on friendships that bind us together.

As always I started the proceedings with the opening poem of the night and on this occasion I indulged in something which is always going to be popular in Scotland namely a bit of Tory bashing with my new poem Breakfast Means Breakfast which is my take on Theresa May’s ludicrous Brexit Means Brexit line.

Needless to say this went down with the majority of the crowd in the gathering and set us up perfectly for the events of the night ahead so it with confidence I called Angela Strachan to the stage as the first of our billed readers.

On this occasion Angela read a short story entitled Hold The Bag And Take A Bite which was a very powerful piece of work and held my attention from beginning to end. This I have to say is no mean achievement and illustrates a good storyteller as and I’ll be honest about this I have the attention span of a poet.

Talking of poets they don’t come much better than A C Clarke who was making her first visit to the Tin Hut since July. As always I enjoyed to the work of this top quality wordsmith who shared three poems with an audience who listened intently to her words.
Anne started her set with After Work a poem based on a picture of an Albanian refugee. This was followed by She Came To The Door before concluding her set with Remembering 2011

As Anne went back to her seat it was the turn of Derek Read to grace us with his presence.
Like A C Clarke it was Derek’s first appearance since the summer and he started his set with Sandy’s Funeral which a warm and fitting tribute to former Words and Music favourite Sandy Hutchinson. Derek followed his opening poem with Dark Dreams a poem on mental health issues and concluded his five minutes with a poem entitled In My Madness

Derek was followed to the stage by the only man in history to arrive at the Tin Hut by tardis the one and only Pete Faulkner. As we were now at that time of year famed for mists and mellow fruitfulness Pete started his set with Autumn Leaves which is the tale of four girls at a bonfire. This was followed by The Reckoning a tale of a knight coming home from the crusades and Pete finished his set with a couple of ghost stories which provided more than the odd spooky moment for a suitably enthralled audience.

Alan McGlass was next to entertain the company. Alan started his set with Anchourous before moving on the brilliantly titled From Ryan Air To Knock. He followed this up with his hilarious take on Morris Dancing Honey Noni Nay. Alan then finished his set with a poem in tribute to the leading evolutionist Charles Darwin written in the style of a certain William Topaz McGonagall. This was a brilliant way to finish the set and welcome one of life’s true performers back to the spoken word scene from which he has been badly missed.

Following Alan is never an easy task but if anyone could do it then Kevin Gilday was just the poet to do it. Like many others Kevin (see picture) though a keen Words and Music supporter was making his first appearance at our new venue and his first since his younger sister Lisa was appointed as my deputy.

Picture (1) Kevin Gilday makes his first appearance at Words And Music since we moved to our new surroundings.

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Undaunted by this development Kevin performed three poems all written about his recent trip to Japan entitled Secuda , Land Of The Unfamiliar and Tokyo Boy. This was an excellent set and in my opinion produced the biggest lump in the throat moment of the night. This was an emotional set from a young poet who unlike so many, west of Scotland men isn’t afraid to wear his heart very firmly on his sleeve.

After such an excellent poet it was only fair that it was a storyteller who followed him and this Suzanne Egerton we had a performer who mixed flash fiction with a bit of Americana with her story Tilted Picnic and as usual kept us interested from start to finish. 

When she did finish Suzanne gave the stage to Susan Milligan and it’s fair to say that this was a bit of mixed bag of a night for her. This wasn’t helped by her choice of a controversial first poem Wolfe Whistles in which Susan who must have been on a day trip to the 1950’s advised women to enjoy this male attention and in her words make hay while sun shines. Needless to say this went down like a led balloon with the feminists among us and got her set off to a nightmare start. This however is not the Susan of old and instead of folding like a piece of paper she cracked on with her poem on the Clutha tragedy and one on Celebration before finishing with a song which in this case was My Funny Valentine which is probably in my opinion the one she does best and is certainly my favourite from her repertoire.

Susan was followed by Jim Ewing whose set of four poems was a mixture of two themes music and faith. Jim started his set with an invitation to the audience to guess which musical star his opening poem may be about.
With the title Sugar Me and me like Jim having had my teenage years in the 1970’s. I kinda got the fact this highly enjoyable poem was about Lynsey De Paul.

For his second poem Jim (see picture) performed what I call his Dusty Springfield poem and it’s no secret that I love this poem and judging by the reaction it received I’m not the only one.

Picture (2) Jim Ewing takes the stage at the Tin Hut. No Honestly it really is Jim.

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This was followed by his penultimate poem No Honestly which like the first one shares a title with a Lynsey De Paul song Jim
finished his set with a fantastic poem on faith titled I Went Down To The Crossroads With A Suitcase In My Hand and brought to an end one of the best and most enjoyable sets I’ve ever seen him perform in all the time I’ve known him.

It was Anna Crow who led us to the bar break with a short but enjoyable set which left those in the audience with plenty of food for thought.
In her first poem Two Years On Anna reflected on how she felt in the aftermath of the referendum and why her commitment to an independence is still as strong as ever if not even stronger because of lost opportunities and the disturbing direction the United Kingdom has taken during this period especially since the vote to leave the European Union.

Anna’s second poem Sunday Lunch was on a different kind of politics which is more of the personal variety in the sense of the politics of position in the family. I love this poem as I get the sense that Anna’s Sunday’s are very much like the ones which shaped my formative years in which any difference was perceived as dangerous left wing radicalism maybe that’s why this poem spoke so clearly to my liberal leftie heart.

After a much needed bar break during which we had been joined by Michelle Fisher and Victoria McNulty who had came over from the Castlemilk Against Austerity event to enjoy the words of wisdom of our featured writer Jim Monaghan. It’s no secret that I’m big fan of Jim’s work and I think Victoria McNulty was bang on the money when she described him as the  Scottish poetic version of Jack Dee due to his dry humour.

On Introducing Jim (pictured below) I said that he was like a younger version of my dad you know the kind of brother if you were lucky enough to have him in the family that you could argue with every day but still depend on when you really needed support.

Picture (3) Shows our Featured Writer Jim Monaghan sharing his poetry with the gathering.

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Jim started his set with his popular anti war poem Tell Me Lies About Iraq before reading his poem For Blake which is based on his poem Jerusalem. This was followed by poems for his two grandfathers . Firstly he read one for his maternal grandad Archie Kirk and then followed it with one in memory of the man he was named after Jimmy Monaghan. The later piece titled What Did You Do In The War? was arguably my favourite poem of his set. That said both pieces were enjoyable heartwarming and delivered with a gentle warmth which would have made both men very proud of their talented grandson.

Still on the theme of family and those who matter most Jim’s penultimate poem was that old favourite What I Got For My Birthdays. I have to admit I love this poem as gives the listener an insight to the memories that shaped the man we’ve come to know and whom I consider to be a valued friend. Jim then finished his set with The Songs Are Wrong before leaving the stage and taking his place amongst the company.

As always the featured writer was followed by the featured musician and in Lisa Gilday we not only had an excellent singer/songwriter to entertain us, we also had the future face of Words And Music.

Lisa (pictured below) started her set with one of her own songs approximately titled My Song before moving on to cover Be Mine. This was followed by another one of her own the excellent Walk Away after which she treated us to her version of The Gardner. In her penultimate song Lisa treated us to another of her own compositions which had the very philosophical title of The Stars Will Keep On Shining before concluding a majestic set with the song that started a friendship which for those of you who don’t know is the classic Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow ? This is the first song I ever heard her sing back in an early summer evening in 2012.

Picture (4) Shows my recently appointed deputy Lisa Gilday providing the music and enchanting the audience in a way only she can.

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At the end of Lisa’s set it was time for our penultimate reader of the evening and it has to be said Fred Fingers, didn’t let us down. In a set predominantly focused on humour Fred performed four pieces and started with his only non humorous one which was a tribute to his late wife. Fred followed this with Tree Feller , and Faces before finishing up his with Pet Phobia.

As tradition dictates I brought the night to an end. On this occasion I read two poems and I started with A Women’s Voice which I deliberately selected for Michelle Fisher as like me Michelle is a fiercely proud feminist and since this poem was written to explain to a female friend of mine to explain why women should vote I thought she might like it and it turned out I was right.

I followed this thought provoking poem with something a wee bit humorous and Lost The Plot was the perfect way to end what was an excellent and entertaining night. As I reflected on the events of the evening I thought everyone who attended played their part in making the night a success. It was like the best type of west of Scotland family gathering where you had every kind of character and somehow in spite of this it just seemed to work. So as we sat down to a cultural feast we were told that Breakfast Means Breakfast but when someone asked What Did Do You In The War it was time for a good Sunday Lunch

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X

We Were The Eightsome Who Made The Night Real As We Wore Our True Colours With Style.

Hey Readers

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Featured Picture Our Featured Writer Peter Russell

As I look forward to this month’s Words and Music it’s time to reflect on the events of September and though it was another small attendance and we had no featured musician for the first time since making the Tin Hut our home it was an enjoyable night as we welcomed old friends and new to our new surroundings.

As is now custom I started bang on 8 o’clock and I kicked off proceedings with the poem which has recently become my personal manifesto and I have to say Spoken Word was very well received. Personally I think it’s a good poem to start the night not just because of the subject it covers but also due to the amount of topics raised in the narrative.

As I had done my duty, it was now time to call up the first of the billed readers and on this occasion the honour fell to a newbie who was making her Words and Music début and in Angela Strachan (pictured below with our featured writer Peter Russell. Angela kicked off her set With Every Dog Has Its Day. This is a poem about being hard on yourself which is something modern women know a lot about. Angela developed this theme with her next poem The Cat’s Mother this was her take on those women who know no matter how much pressure they are under always seem to look perfect. This is the kind of woman who Angela has named the Queen of Modern Suburbia and I have no doubt like the rest of us finds intensely annoying. Angela concluded her set with a poem on her love affair with smoking entitled Dear Mister Berkeley Methol and as I listened to it I thought to myself only Angela could get economics into a love poem.

Picture ( 1) Angela Strachan takes a view of her new poetry surroundings as featured writer Peter Russell enjoys a well earned pint.

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Angela was followed to the stage by Susan Milligan who performed two poems and a song before returning to her seat. Though this performance didn’t hit the heights of the previous couple of months it was still a well delivered set which gives testament to Susan’s improvement as a performer.

Next up was Suzanne Egerton and whether it be poetry and more likely prose Suzanne has a style of writing which is challenging and thought provoking without losing its humanity. On this occasion her story My First Day As A Widow was an excellent story told by a talented storyteller on a very difficult subject. It is my opinion that Suzanne knows how to draw her listeners in to her stories and she does it by creating characters we can not only believe in but identify with.

Picture (2) Suzanne Egerton takes the floor at the Tin Hut

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Suzanne was followed to the stage by Pete Faulkner who was making a welcome return to Words And Music and his first appearance at the place we now call home. On this occasion Pete chose not to read one of his own poems but instead share a poem he enjoyed which was written by another poet. The poem in question was The Old Monk By Bill Wyatt

At the end of this poem I checked the list of readers and much to my amazement all of us had read our sets. As it was only 8.25 I made the decision just because I can that it would be far too early to call up our featured writer as doing so could mean we would finish the evening by around 9.o’clock at the latest so I decided that since there were so few of us that we could all go round again should we wish to do so.

Naturally as host I started off this section and as Celtic were playing Rangers on the Saturday after the event I did so with True Colours. This is a poem which comes straight from my Celtic supporting heart and explains from my very personal viewpoint why beating Rangers matters and always will.

I was followed by Susan who sang a couple of Beatles songs before finishing up her extended set with Two Cigarettes In An Ashtray and Fool On The Hill Angela then followed up with a poem which made her sound like a modern day Doris Day before Pete Faulkner (pictured below) led us to the bar break with Message In A Bottle. No not the police song but a poem by a poet whose name I forget. This poem had some of the best most cynical lines I’ve ever heard but they were also some of the most accurate especially when you think of Scotland in July. Now I don’t know why or maybe I do the lines ‘ Summer’s been postponed again due to lack of sunny days ‘ seems to sum up Scottish summers to perfection.

Poem (3) Pete Faulkner makes his first appearance on the Tin Hut Stage

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Anyway we had now arrived at the bar break but during all the madness of the party sets a newcomer and her friend had quietly slipped in to the gathering and I for one was delighted to see one of the rising stars of the spoken word scene Molly McLachlan take her place among us for the first time.

As we started back it was time for our featured writer to take the stage and in Peter Russell we had a poet I admire and respect. I first became aware of Peter’s poetry at a Love Words event at GoMA in February and quickly realised that we had a major poetic talent on our hands.

Peter started his set with a jazz inspired poem The Bird , The Train And The Getz before moving on to Messages which I have a feeling may just be useful this Thursday as messages is the theme of this year’s National Poetry Day celebration.This was followed by The Haiku Tango and A Poem for Nick Drake.

Peter then read The Corbie Crow, which is a poem about Queens Park which is not far from his home. In this poem Peter captures the beauty of nature in an urban setting. This is something that many city dwellers often overlook so it was particularly appreciated by someone who was brought up on the rural urban fringes of North Glasgow and now lives on the rural urban fringes of East Glasgow where the city borders North Lanarkshire.

In his next poem Peter (pictured below) swappes beauty for beaurocracy with By Order in which he relates with honesty and touches of dark humour the confessions of a local government officer which is one of the many jobs he had during his working career.

Picture (4) Featured Writer Peter Russell engages his audience at The Tin Hut.

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After enlightning us in the world of the civil service Peter took us on a journey to the wild untamed wilderness of Argyle for his next two poems No Cover, and Argyle November. This was followed by Navy Town 1973 which is one of my personal favourites of his as it was the first poem of his I ever heard and has a particular resonance for me as Portsmouth the town where the poem is set was where my dad did his national service and qualified as a Royal Marine.

Peter then moved on to Blood And Ox before reading another work based poem the brilliant 40 Hours In Hell. This was followed up with Harnia 2015 , Contrarian Blues, Mr Murray’s Words, Gale Force Wind At 5 Am The St Colm’s College Old Boys Club , and before concluding an excellent set with Boy And The 40 Gallon Drum.

This was an entertaining and enjoyable featured set and sets of such calibre are always difficult to follow, or at least that would normally be the case. This however , much like the night was different and in debut girl Molly McLachlan we had the perfect poet to follow in the footsteps of the featured slot.

Now I’ve got to know Molly well in the last year since I started attending the open mic nights at The Blue Chair cafe, and consider her to be a valued friend. So even before she took the stage I knew what she could bring to the party and believe me she brought it in spectacular style.

In her first poem Multi Billion Protection Racket Molly showed her passion for equality. This driven young woman who is destined for a career in law pinpointed with deadly accuracy the issues which caused inequality and illustrated her anger and frustration and the lack of action to deal with them by those who have the power to make the changes required.

This was followed by a poem for which the bold Molly doesn’t yet have a title. Now this may or may surprise her but I have at least three titles for the poem in which she describes a chance meeting of the same age from a very different background and expresses her humanitarian concerns for someone who though she only met her once left a lasting impression on her heart. The titles I would suggest are 19 , Lost Girl, and Just A Number. I don’t know which one if any, she’ll choose but I do know, this is a poem I’ll never tire of hearing.

Molly finished one of the best debut sets Words And Music has seen in a long time with a poem with one of the best titles I’ve heard in ages. I Wish Being Scottish Made You Immune From Seasonal Affective Disorder. Yet again this was another poem which stretched the imagine of the listener by a poet who is destined for very big things as she uses her powerful voice to articulate the concerns of the most marginalised and disadvantaged members of society.

Picture (5) Molly McLachlan rocks the Tin Hut with a brilliant debut set.

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At the end of an incredible set it was time for the penultimate reader of the evening who by a strange quirk of fate had also performed earlier but unlike the rest of the performers she wanted to take her second slot later on and after the high energy express that was Molly we certainly needed the calm and reassuring voice that Suzanne Egerton can and does provide In this set Suzanne read three short pieces two of which Summer Flash, and Beyond The Gate were her own work and her final piece Jim was a poem by Hillaire Belloc. However just as Suzanne had restored some calm to the evening there was one final performer who could change all that should she choose to do.

That performer was of course me but on this occasion I decided to make my contribution slightly more sensible well I’m sure it made a plesent change for those who know me well. In a set which has a very personal touch to it , I started with Journey To Pride a poem written earlier this year in support of Scottish Labour Leader after she came out as a lesbian. I followed this up with Two Hours which focuses on the geography of isolation faced by young trans teens in parts of Rural Scotland and looks back on my own teenage years in the 1970’s If only to show that things have improved for younger trans teenagers who live in my country’s bigger towns and cities. In my penultimate poem Rock Of Kindness I looked back with affection on the close almost sibling like relationship I had with my younger cousin and hopefully illustrate that out of sight does not necessarily mean out of mind.

This however was where the sanity stopped. Well it had to end sometime and where better than the final poem to make sure the audience went out smiling and Every Saturday Night is just the poem to do exactly that. This was the very first poem I read at a Words and Music night back in 1993 and I think still it’s as funny and as relevant now as it was back in the day.

With the final poem read it was time to bring the curtain down on another night of Words and Music. It was if truth be told more like a party than a poetry night. I think the small attendance there was only eight of us at the gathering helped add to the intimate atmosphere of the occasion and to sum it up I would say that we were the eightsome who made the night real as we wore our true colours with style.

Love And Best Wishes
Gayle X